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Full text of "Year book of the Old setters' association, Johnson county"

GENEALOGY COLLECTIOW 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/yearbookofoldset00olds_3 



YEAR BOOK OF THE 

OLD SETTLERS' ASSOCIATION 




JOHNSON COUNTY, IOWA 

1917-1918 



1524727 



OFFICERS OF OLD SETTLERS' ASSOCIATION 

1917-18 



President , 

First Vice-President. . 
Second Vice-President 

Secretary. 

Treasurer 

Necrologist 



.Milton Remley 
Emory Westcott 
. . . . A. W. Beuter 
. .H. J. Wieneke 

. . O. A. Byington 
.Mrs. Gr. R. Irish 



Executive Committee 

W. E. C. Foster Euclid Sanders 

Edward McCollister 0. A. Byington 

James White 



Year Book Publication Committee 



Euclid Sanders 
S. B. Pryce 



M. Cavanagh 
0. A. Byington 



THE OLD SETTLERS' ASSOCIATION 
OF JOHNSON COUNTY, IOWA 

1918 

ANNUAL BEUNION FOR 1917 
The annual reunion of the Johnson County Old Settlers' 
Association for 1917 was held on August 30th. The weather 
was ideal for the occasion. By 9 o'clock in the morning 
the Old Settlers began gathering at the cabins in the City 
Park. When the dinner hour arrived the seating capacity 
at the tables was insufficient and at least one-third of the 
crowd enjoyed a real old-fashioned picnic dinner on the 
grass. 

Coffee was furnished free by the Association, Mr. Frank 
Luse and Mrs. Horton dispensing five large boilers of 
coffee. 

The program of the day occurred after dinner. The pro- 
gram opened by the presentation of a beautiful silk flag to 
each of the members of the G. A. R. by ladies of the Wom- 
an's Relief Corps. The following members of the G. A. R. 
were present and received the flag: Andrew Leo, Frank 
Yavorsky, Gen. R. M. Hoxie, Albert Baumgartner, N. L. 
Pryce, W. B. Reynolds, J. H. Kramer, George Moore and 
H. J. Wieneke. 

The address of the day was given by Hon. Alexander 
Miller of Washington, Iowa. It was closely followed by 
the audience and greatly enjoyed. The address called forth 
hearty and unanimous expressions of approval. Mrs. Vir- 



6 



The Old Settlers' Association of 



ginia E. Hanby Wright of Aledo, Illinois, who was born in 
Iowa City, gave a short talk. 

The election of officers for the ensuing year resulted as 
follows : President, Hon. Milton Remley ; First Vice-Presi- 
dent, Emory Westcott; Second Vice-President, A. W. 
Beuter; Secretary, H. J. Wieneke; Treasurer, 0. A. By- 
ington ; Necrologist, Mrs. G. E. Irish. 

The following resolution was presented by 0. A. Bying- 
ton and on motion adopted: "Whereas the pioneers and 
early settlers of Johnson County, Iowa, are rapidly passing 
away, and Whereas the first-hand and accurate knowledge 
of many of the events and places of historic interest in the 
early settlement of the County is passing away and will 
soon be forever lost with the passing of the remaining pio- 
neers and early settlers, and Whereas, no effort has been 
made to accurately locate the various points of interest in 
the early settlement of the County with a view of perma- 
nently marking the same, nor has any careful catalog been 
made of the important events in the history of the County. 

"Therefore, Be It Resolved, That the President of this 
Association at his earliest convenience appoint a committee 
of three members to gather such historic data as may be 
obtained and to locate the various places of historic interest 
in connection with the early settlement of the County. 

"That said committee report the results of its labor at 
the next annual meeting of the Society. ' 9 

The reunion of 1917 was one of the most largely attended 
in the history of the Association. The receipts for dues 
paid to the Secretary on the grounds were $43.50 with $7.50 
for new memberships, making total receipts at $51.00. We 
would urge those attending the Association meetings to pay 
the dues more generally as they are merely nominal in 
amount. 

President Remley appointed the following executive com- 



Johnson County, Iowa 



7 



mittee for the year 1918 : W. E. C. Foster, Edward McCol- 
lister, Euclid Sanders, 0. A. Byington and James White. 

Owing to the sale of the fair grounds the executive com- 
mittee met at the office of President Remley, on April 22, 
1918, to arrange for the removal of the Old Settlers' cabins 
from the fair grounds to the City Park. Secretary Wieneke 
was empowered to arrange for the removal of one of the 
hewed cabins to the City Park, the other one being in such 
condition as to render its removal impracticable. Under 
the direction of the Secretary the cabin was removed to the 
City Park by Mr. Mott at a cost of $102.50, Mr. Mott to 
substitute good timbers for the rotted ones out of the old 
cabin not removed. Mr. Mott also erected a fire-place for 
cooking coffee near the cabins. 

The money necessary to remove the cabin was raised by 
subscription by a committee appointed by President Rem- 
ley. The following is a financial statement of the removal 



of the cabins : 

Paid Mr. Mott for removal $102.50 

Building coffee fireplace and foundation of cabin 24.55 
Drayage of curios from fair grounds to cabins 

in Park 2.00 

Balance due on last year 's annuals 11.00 



Total $140.05 

Contra 

Collected by subscription ..$121.50 

Sale of old stoves 8.00 

Advanced by Secretary Wieneke 10.55 



Total $140.05 



"PETE" HEPBURN IN JOHNSON COUNTY 



By John E. Bbiggs* 

Kesearch Associate in The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Few people in Iowa now live to recall the time when this 
State was a Territory, and fewer still remember the settle- 
ment of Johnson County and the building of the Old Stone 
Capitol in Iowa City. Perhaps it is not generally known 
that Colonel "Pete" Hepburn — a pioneer, soldier, and 
statesman of Iowa — spent most of his boyhood years in 
Johnson County. 

William Peters Hepburn, the son of an army surgeon 
named James S. Hepburn, was born on November 4, 1833, 
in the smoky village of Wellsville, Ohio. In his veins was 
the blood of generations of soldiers and pioneers — such 
men as Thomas Chittenden, the first Governor of Vermont, 
and Matthew Lyon, a revolutionary soldier and Congress- 
man from Vermont and Kentucky, and such women as 
Minerva Lyon Catlett, one of the most popular ladies in 
the National capital when James Madison was President, 
and Ann Fairfax Catlett who as a girl had been taken on 
long journeys through the forests from Washington to St. 
Louis. 

When "Pete" Hepburn was only seven years old his 
step-father George S. Hampton decided to emigrate to 
Iowa. On November 3, 1840, he purchased for $90 a half 
section of land on Turkey Creek in what is now Newport 
Township in Johnson County. Having located the new 



•Dr. Brings is preparing a biography of Colonel W. P. Hepburn which will 
be published by The State Historical Society of Iowa in the "Iowa Biograph- 
ical Series". 



Johnson County, Iowa 



9 



home only a few miles from the site of the capital of the 
Territory he sent his brother-in-law, Columbus Catlett, to 
bring the family and grandmother Minerva Catlett. It was 
sometime in April, 1841, after a monotonous steamboat trip 
down the Ohio River, and up the Mississippi, when the little 
party disembarked at Bloomington (now Muscatine), Iowa, 
and made the long journey to Iowa City by wagon. There 
were no bridges over the streams and only a few scattered 
cabins along the road. 

To a small log cabin built in the timber north of Iowa 
City Mr. Hampton conducted his family. He, like many 
another, believed that forest land was the only sort capable 
of producing grain ; and there the pioneers chopped, sawed, 
grubbed, and prayed that their neighbors who had settled 
on the prairie would not freeze or starve. A veritable out- 
post of civilization was this little home in which William P. 
Hepburn was to spend part of his boyhood. Long after- 
ward he said that there were at that time not five thousand 
white families further west in the United States. From 
the cabin in which he lived, moving westward to the Mis- 
souri River, a person " would have traveled without the 
sight of the smoke from a single chimney.' ' 

One season of agricultural experience convinced George 
S. Hampton that he would never be a successful farmer. 
Fortunately he secured a position as transcribing clerk in 
the Council of the first Legislative Assembly that met in 
Iowa City in December, 1841. Hanson Hepburn, the oldest 
son, assumed the management of the farm. William soon 
went to live with his grandmother and his uncle Columbus 
on an adjacent claim. 

Many a night the wolves howled dismally around the 
house. It was often necessary to get out of bed and fright- 
en the bold marauders away with a fire brand. But one 
night, in spite of all William's efforts, the wolves carried 



10 



The Old Settlers' Association of 



away his pet pig. To assuage the boy's grief, the pig was 
replaced with a puppy; but the little dog also caused trou- 
ble. One day it ran under the house and William, boy-like, 
crawled after. He caught his clothes on a nail, and turn or 
twist as he might he could not get loose. With what an- 
guish he lay there, wondering if his uncle would think it 
worth while to tear down the house to save him when 
houses were few and boys comparatively plentiful. 

In those days it was no small matter to start a fire; so 
an ash-covered log was kept burning in the fireplace. But 
occasionally the glowing embers would die, and then it fell 
to William to run to his mother's house more than a mile 
away to fetch a brand and kindle the blaze again. Some- 
times the pluck of the lad was severely tested when the trip 
was made after dark through woods full of wild animals 
and perhaps a roving band of Indians. These experiences, 
however, served to cultivate a venturesome temperament 
that stood him in good stead when later he came to be 
thrown upon his own resources. 

Stimulated by long-standing companionship, a warm af- 
fection grew up between William Hepburn and his grand- 
mother. Many hours they spent of the Sabbath singing 
together the hymns in the old Methodist hymn book brought 
from Ohio. That the boy was taught to cherish a devout 
reverence for the Deity is apparent from his recollection of 
regular church attendance one hundred and four times a 
year. It must be admitted, however, that he sometimes 
failed to attend strictly to the discourse from the pulpit, 
[ndeed, if the minister should be found wanting in logic 
young Hepburn was wont to preach his own sermon. Years 
later he expressed his obligation to those early clergymen 
For teaching him to think amid noise and distraction. 

Botli George S. Hampton and his wife were cultured 
people to whom the privations of frontier farm life must at 



Johnson County, Iowa 



11 



times have been a trying experience, not only on account of 
the physical inconvenience but because of the meager edu- 
cational opportunities for their children, for there were no 
schools in the country. At all events the third summer on 
the farm had scarcely elapsed before the family moved to 
Iowa City and there in October, 1843, Mrs. Hampton was 
engaged as instructor of the "female department" of the 
Mechanics' Academy. Most of her salary of one hundred 
dollars for twenty-two weeks was consumed in paying the 
tuition of her own children. Here it was that William P. 
Hepburn attended school for the first time in his life under 
the tutelage of Hugh and William Hamilton. 

During the summer of 1844 William P. Hepburn was em- 
ployed in the Berryhill Brothers ' general store. For seven 
months' work he received twenty-one dollars. The follow- 
ing winter he attended the private school taught by Dr. 
William Reynolds, whom he remembered as an accom- 
plished gentleman willing to use the ferrule to stimulate 
the memory of his pupils. A few months at another time 
William was enrolled in Iowa City College of which James 
Harlan was the principal and faculty. In June, 1847, at the 
age of thirteen, William went to live with Judge John F. 
Kinney on a farm near West Point in Lee County. There 
he remained a year. 

Going to school, however, occupied only a few short pe- 
riods during four or five years. The greater part of 
William's time was taken up with the usual round of boyish 
activities. When the circus came to town he rode tri- 
umphantly at the head of the procession beside the elephant 
because early in the morning he had found the caravan on 
the wrong side of a swollen stream and had volunteered to 
act as guide. 

The Cadets of Temperance, an organization of boys 
pledged not to use intoxicating liquor or tobacco, chose him 



12 



The Old Settlers' Association of 



as Royal Archon, the highest officer. It was at this time 
that William was nicknamed "Pete" by the other boys to 
distinguish him from his step-brother and boon-companion 
William Hampton. The name stuck to him all through 
life ; even on the floor of Congress he was known as "Pete" 
Hepburn. 

In the summer of 1847 William Hepburn came home from 
Lee County to make a short visit among friends in Iowa 
City. His sister Catherine was just recovering from a long 
illness during which she had made the acquaintance of 
Melvina Morsman, the nine-year-old daughter of Dr. M. J. 
Morsman. The two girls had planned to visit Mavor and 
Pamela Sanders who lived across Ralston Creek; but the 
distance was too far for the convalescent Catherine to walk. 
Arrangements for a horse and buggy were easily made ; but 
William, after the manner of boys of his age, required a 
great deal of coaxing and commanding before he would 
consent to act as driver. Rather ungraciously he drove as 
far as the creek and then, pointing to the Sanders home on 
the opposite side, told the girls they could get out and walk 
the rest of the way. Such was the simple beginning of an 
acquaintance between Melvina Morsman and William Hep- 
burn which culminated in more than sixty years of married 
life. 

It was not long after this incident that William was per- 
suaded to learn the printer's trade and a place was made 
for him in the composing room of the Republican — an 
Iowa City newspaper owned by Samuel M. Ballard with 
James Harlan as a contributing editor. For three years he 
worked steadily setting type for sound Whig editorials and 
vituperative attacks upon neighboring newspapers. At the 
end of that time he was a journeyman printer capable of 
earning ten dollars a week as pressman for the Capital Re- 
porter — the Democratic organ published at Iowa City. 



Johnson County, Iowa 



13 



Thoroughly grounded in the rudiments of the English 
language and well informed in history and the political doc- 
trines of the time, William P. Hepburn always regarded 
the printing office as the best school he ever attended. 
There is a note of democratic pride in his own concise de- 
scription of his early training : ' i educated in the schools of 
the Territory and in a printing office". He was always 
pleased to be referred to as an artisan, a man who had 
served an apprenticeship and had learned a trade. 

Whatever may have been William's plans for the future, 
his mother was ambitious to have him study law. Living 
almost in the shadow of the Old Stone Capitol where the 
eminent men of the State were accustomed to assemble, 
listening often to the debates in the legislature, and attend- 
ing sessions of the Supreme Court, of which his step-father 
was clerk and to the bar of which was attracted the best 
legal talent of the country, William became interested in 
political questions and decided to acquiesce in his mother's 
wishes. As a boy he had been fond of reading anything he 
could find, so that in the prospect of poring over law books 
there was little for him to dread. It was therefore with 
enthusiasm and determination that in the spring of 1853 
he began to read Blackstone under the direction of William 
Penn Clarke. 

Fortunate indeed was the young law student who re- 
ceived his training in the office of William Penn Clarke, one 
of the most widely practiced and successful members of the 
Iowa bar. A hard task master whose creed was thorough- 
ness in the fundamentals of law, he also gave young Hep- 
burn the advantage of his extensive acquaintance among 
politicians and lawyers — such men as James W. Grimes, 
Samuel J. Kirkwood, Henry W. Lathrop, Samuel F. Miller, 
C. C. Nourse, and Josiah B. Grinnell. Moreover, William 
Penn Clarke was a radical Free Soiler, chairman of the 



14 The Old Settlers' Association of 



Kansas Central Committee of Iowa, and one of the tempo- 
rary secretaries of the first Republican convention at Pitts- 
burgh in February, 1856. In such an atmosphere and asso- 
ciated with the leading men of Iowa who were opposed to 
the extension of slavery it is small wonder that William P. 
Hepburn became a strong partisan of the new Eepublican 
party. 

In September, 1853, he confided to Miss Morsman that he 
was "getting to like the study of law better every day'\ 
By that time he had finished Starkie's Evidence and had 
begun reading Stephen's Pleading, proud of his "clock- 
like regularity in attending to office hours." Sixty years 
later he recalled that he had been accustomed to spend at 
least five hours each morning in close application to read- 
ing law; in the afternoon he took care of the office until 
four o 'clock ; and then the study of Latin occupied him for 
two hours. The evenings were devoted to the reading of 
history and poetry. When Mr. Clarke had cases in courts 
outside of Iowa City he took his young assistant along to 
help in the trials. 

Tall, erect, and very slender, William P. Hepburn at the 
age of nineteen was an unusually handsome young man. A 
very fair complexion was accentuated by his wavy black 
hair and dark, deep-set eyes under heavy black eyebrows. 
His features were clean-cut and regular: a straight nose, 
full cheeks, and a square chin. Endowed with grace and 
tact it is not surprising that he was popular with the young 
people of Iowa City. His letters to Melvina Morsman — 
"Melly" as he liked to call her — tell of the parties and 
balls he attended and relate the amorous adventures of 
their friends. 

Sometime in the summer of 1854 when Hepburn was in 
Illinois he chanced to meet Van H. Higgins of Chicago. 
Pleased with the appearance of the young man and confi- 



Johnson County, Iowa 



15 



dent of his ability, Mr. Higgins suggested that he be exam- 
ined for admission to the bar. The examining committee 
reported favorably, and nearly four months before he was 
twenty-one years of age William P. Hepburn received the 
certificate which entitled him to practice law in Illinois. 
Almost immediately he was invited to accept a position as 
bookkeeper in the firm of Higgins, Beckwith, and Strother, 
receiving as compensation his necessary expenses. This 
seemed to be an exceptional opportunity and in the latter 
part of September, just after his betrothal to Melvina 
Morsman had been announced, young Hepburn found him- 
self in Chicago "building air castles" in his dreams and 
"peopling them with fairies" which would always take the 
form and name of "Melly". 

Mr. Higgins, whom Hepburn described as "rather a 
large man, but a very handsome one", received his new 
assistant in a kindly manner; while Mrs. Higgins and her 
daughter Hattie were as cordial as old friends in their 
greetings and it was not long before William felt at home 
in his strange surroundings. He lived on the lake shore 
with people he had known in Iowa City. Chicago was then 
an over-grown town of sixty-five thousand population with 
badly-kept, ill-lighted streets, any amount of mud, and a 
dirty river in which the current was scarcely perceptible. 
Hepburn's opinion of the elite people of Chicago was no 
more flattering than the city was attractive. At the first 
party he attended he did not "recollect hearing a sensible 
remark", although there was a "great deal of delightful 
music. ' ' 

Early in the summer of 1855 William Hepburn was once 
more in Iowa City among the friends of his boyhood. Al- 
though he had remained less than a year with Higgins, 
Beckwith, and Strother, he apparently succeeded in gain- 
ing the confidence of the lawyers and business men of Chi- 



16 



The Old Settlers' Association of 



cago, and so when he began to practice law in Iowa he be- 
came the agent of many of the Chicago firms doing business 
in his section of the country. Toward the latter part of 
June he accepted the position of deputy clerk of Johnson 
County, and he remained in that office until the middle of 
August, receiving as compensation all fees collected. 

Happy in the prospect of being married in a few months 
and enjoying a promising job, the summer of 1855 was a 
very pleasant one for the young attorney. Being at leisure 
for a few weeks he was glad to accompany his friends 
Edgar and Edmond Harrison on a trip through some of 
the adjoining counties. A fortnight later he returned with 
his face swollen and disfigured, afflicted with an acute case 
of sore eyes (purulent ophthalmia). But the weeks during 
which he was confined to a darkened room were trans- 
formed into a period of felicity by the tender solicitude of 
his girlish sweetheart. During those dark days the affec- 
tion between Melvina A. Morsman and William P. Hepburn 
deepened, so that their marriage on October 7, 1855, while 
the groom was still compelled to wear colored glasses, 
marked only the beginning of a love that grew deeper and 
more steadfast through all the years that followed. The 
young couple moved to Marshalltown in February, 1856, 
where "Pete" Hepburn opened a law office and embarked 
upon his political career. 



REMINISCENCES BY M. CAVANAGH 



I was asked to write something reminiscent for publica- 
tion in the Year Book of the Old Settlers ' Association, and 
I can think of nothing more appropriate in that line, for me 
to write about for such purpose, than to relate something 
of the work done by my father and mother in the pioneer 
days of J ohnson County, and so, to begin, James and Amy 
Cavanagh (my father and mother) came here in 1839 from 
Cass County, Michigan. 

They came in a covered wagon around the south shore 
of the Lake and on to Chicago and across Illinois, crossing 
the Mississippi at Rock Island. Their family consisted at 
that time of five little boys, the eldest of whom was seven 
and the youngest a baby in arms. Three more boys were 
born to them in Iowa, making now a family of eight rollick- 
ing, frollicking boys to care for and manage. It can readily 
be understood that the work of their mother would be un- 
remitting and incessant, and especially so when it is under- 
stood — as will be shown further on — that almost their 
entire care and management devolved upon her in conse- 
quence of the work of her husband taking him from home 
for a large part of the time. So well did their mother care 
for them in a physical sense that so far as now remembered, 
no doctor was ever called for any of them until on the way 
to Iowa, some of them were taken sick, when a doctor was 
called. 

Schools in Iowa in those pioneer days were few and far 
between, and my mother in addition to her onerous domes- 
tic duties already specified, took upon herself the role of 
teacher for her eight boys, and so well did she succeed in 



18 



The Old Settlers' Association of 



this capacity, that in spite of the obtuse mental perceptions 
of some of us, and the wandering mental aberrations of 
others of us, all were taught the rudiments of a common 
school education. 

My father was, of course, the provider for the family, 
and his provisions were ample, and when at home he as- 
sisted my mother in the care and management of the chil- 
dren, but his duties called him from home a great deal. He 
was a member of the first Board of County Commissioners 
for Johnson County; was Assessor for the County; and at 
other times served the public in various ways ; was elected 
Auditor, County Judge, and member of the Legislature. 

The Government granted the Territory of Iowa 500,000 
acres for the improvement of the navigation of the Des 
Moines Eiver, and when Iowa formed a Constitution and 
asked admission into the Union, she also asked that the 
500,000 acre grant be diverted from its original purpose to 
that of schools. This was done and my father was one of 
three Commissioners appointed by the State of Iowa to 
make selection of the lands. This was before the day of 
railroads in Iowa, and before the day of barbed wire, when 
timber lands were regarded the most valuable. The farms 
were all fenced with rails, split from the timber with maul 
and wedge, a la Lincoln. 

Each of these Commissioners located one-third of the 
500,000 acres granted, and father rode on horseback over a 
large part of the middle and western part of the State, up 
the Cedar River, up the Iowa, up the Des Moines, over onto 
the Nishnabotna and wherever he could find the good timber 
lands. He did not make his selections exclusively of tim- 
ber, but every location must have its timber tract adjacent. 

There was a beautiful prairie between our place and 
Solon, five miles across, on which no one at that time had 
the courage to settle but Ebenezer M. Adams. When my 



Johnson County, Iowa 



19 



father was asked why he did not make some of the locations 
of his part of the Grant on this beautiful prairie he replied, 
"That prairie will never be settled in the world." It is 
now worth $150 to $200 per acre. I say this, not to impeach 
my father's judgment, which in general was good, but to 
show that his distrust of the high prairie soils at that early 
time was largely the distrust of the early settlers, as is evi- 
denced by the fact that so many of them made their homes 
and opened their farms along the streams close to the tim- 
ber, often running the risk of their crops being drowned out 
in times of high water rather than to risk the untried and 
much doubted fertility of the high prairies. 

Father's selection on which to make a home for his fam- 
ily was close to the Cedar River, the farming land being 
second bottom prairie, with a rich sandy loam, better adapt- 
ed to corn growing than wheat growing, and a portion of 
which was subject to overflow in time of high water. 

In that early time no one had the remotest conception of 
the rapidity with which the country would become popu- 
lated, or that land values would soar as they have. If my 
father had had any idea of these things he would not have 
declined a proposition made to him shortly after he had 
finished his part of the locations of the 500,000 acre grant ; 
and he would not have missed the opportunity presented to 
him of acquiring a fortune. 

It was after the soldiers of the Mexican war had been 
granted land warrants for 160 acres each. These warrants 
were regarded as of very little value by many of the sol- 
diers, and as they were transferable were bought up by 
speculators for a trifle, who would come to the land office at 
Iowa City with their warrants and ask the officers where 
the good lands were; and the officers told them that good 
lands were all around here. 

But the holders of the warrants would say, "We want to 



20 



The Old Settlers' Association of 



know where the best lands are." Then they were told of 
the part my father had taken in selecting the lands of the 
500,000 acre grant, and on several occasions they would 
come out 16 miles to get him to go to the land office and 
locate their warrants. 

Among these came one man who made the proposition to 
father that if he would give his time to it, he would furnish 
him all the warrants he would want, and when he was 
through they would divide the lands, each taking half. This 
proposition father declined, saying it would make him land 
poor, and that he could never pay the taxes on his share. 

He could easily have selected 100,000 acres and his share 
would have been 50,000 acres which would easily have made 
him a millionaire. But he did not see the wonderful appre- 
ciation of land values, and he did not see the wonderful 
progress Iowa has made in everything that pertains to 
human progress. 

Neither he, nor anybody else, saw, or had the remotest 
conception of the wonderful unprecedented development of 
our country, in the arts and sciences, in education and ev- 
erything that pertains to an advanced civilization. 

My father did not see (neither did anyone else see) the 
wonderful, the marvelous discoveries and inventions which 
have resulted in the present day fruition. 



LETTER FROM HON. JOHN P. IRISH 



Casa Rio, California, July 11, 1918. 
Hon. 0. A. Byington. 
Dear Sir: 

Your letter giving notice of the annual meeting of the 
Old Settlers of Johnson Co. roused a myriad memories 
of the frontier days. 

The pioneer period of Johnson Co. was between 1836, 
the coming of the first settlers, and 1856, the coming of the 
first railroad. In that twenty years of time the first genera- 
tion of children of the pioneers was born and grew to adult 
age. 

It was a heroic period. Wild game abounded, deer, wild 
turkeys, prairie chickens, quail and pheasants were as com- 
mon as domestic animals are now, and I remember when 
my father returned from a wagon trip to the land office at 
Dubuque and brought with him a live black bear, which he 
caught in the woods. We fattened that bear, slaughtered 
and ate him. 

The pioneers enjoyed the pleasantest of social associa- 
tion. There was no "Smart Set" then. All were on an 
equality and the neighborly ties were strong. We had an 
abundance of food, of agreeable variety. 

The story is told of an old lady, whose grand-daughter 
said: "Grandmother, you were here in the early days!" 
6 ' Yes, I was. " " Well, were you poor ? " " Yes, everybody 
was." "Well, couldn't you have what you wanted?" 
"No." "Didn't you have any meat?" "No, nothing but 
venison, wild turkey, prairie chickens and quails. " " Didn 't 



22 



The Old Settlers' Association of 



you have any sugar?" "Only maple sugar." "Well, 
Grandma, what was it you wanted and couldn't have?" 
"Why, it was Salt Mackerel and New Orleans Molasses." 

Nature made for us many esteemed provisions. After 
the autumn frosts we would go on Sundays to the hickory 
groves with the farm wagon, would jar the trees with a 
wooden maul and bring down a shower of nuts and go home 
with a wagon load. Hazel nuts were abundant and so were 
black walnuts, and every pioneer cabin had a great store 
of them all, for winter. Wild berries were in great supply, 
and the wild blackberries were both preserved and dried 
for winter use. 

That pioneer period was a time of great political interest 
and activity. The frontiersmen were highly intelligent and 
many were of exceptional ability. The franchise had not 
been diluted by woman suffrage nor by currents of Euro- 
pean ideas, and election was a time of universal interest, 
and every man voted. There were no telegraphs, nor daily 
papers, and our territorial delegates in Congress and later 
our members, brought home and told what had been done 
by the General Government. I can remember when Gen. 
Dodge, one of our first Senators, on the adjournment of 
Congress, made a tour, visiting all the settlements, and 
calling the pioneers together, told them what legislation 
had been proposed for the young state, what had succeeded 
and why, what had failed and why, and the general legisla- 
tion of national interest, and when this was done the people 
had a far better idea of Government affairs than they get 
now from the abridged and garbled reports of the daily 
press. 

Under wholesome influences, trained to industry, frugal 
and saving, grew up a frontier generation of independent 
men and women, resourceful, and with individual initiative, 
that for time stands out in rugged contrast with the present, 



Johnson County, Iowa 



23 



when we talk much and loudly about democracy, but have 
lost its spirit. 

I was five years old in 1848, and remember very plainly 
the election of Gren. Taylor to the Presidency and have a 
well connected memory of events from that year. Seventy 
years is a long procession to pass before a man, and in it 
all I recall no more stalwart and manly figure than the pio- 
neer men of 1836-56, and no better, gentler nor braver 
women than their wives and daughters. 

Jno. P. Irish. 



LIFE OF T. 0. THOMAS, JOHNSON COUNTY 
PIONEER 



T. 0. Thomas was born in North Wales June 4, 1832, and 
died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. C. P. Lee, in Iowa 
City, Iowa, March 30, 1917. When he was two and a half 
years of age, Jan. 12, 1835, the family came to America and 
settled in Ebensburg, Penn., but six years later in 1841 they 
moved to Johnson County, Iowa, and made a home out on 
the prairie five miles southwest of Iowa City. It was a 
large family but only two of them remain today, an older 
sister, Mrs. Ann Williams, mourns in her far away home 
at Los Angeles, California, and a younger sister, Mrs. 
Emma Carson, of Iowa City mourns in the loss of a loving 
brother. 

Thos. 0. Thomas was March 8, 1855, united in marriage 
to Sarah A. Carson. She preceded her husband to the heav- 
enly home June 30, 1911. 

To this union ten children were born, four of them died 
in childhood, one son, James A. Thomas, resides at Lam- 
bert, Montana, the other five children are Mrs. C. P. Lee, 
Dr. E. 0. Thomas, Mrs. E. Fenton, Wm. A. Thomas, and 
Mrs. R. S. Cochran and all of them live in or near Iowa 
City. 

Mr. Thomas united with the Unity Presbyterian Church 
Dec. 9, 1859, and for 58 and one-half years was a consistent 
member of the church. Nearly 40 years he was a good and 
worthy elder, having been elected to that office in 1877. A 
long record of faith, hope, and charity. He lived his re- 
ligion and as a result no one can remember a word spoken 
in anger but everyone recalls how easy it was for him to 



Johnson County, Iowa 



25 



see some good in the life of every man and woman with 
whom he came in contact. 

Funeral services were conducted by Eev. James T. Wylie 
assisted by Rev. H. B. Boyd and burial was in the Unity 
cemetery. 



1524727 



NECROLOGICAL REPORT FROM AUGUST 30, 1917, 
TO AUGUST 15, 1918 

By Mks. G. R. Ikish 

The following very complete necrological report of the 
Old Settlers of Johnson County, Iowa, was prepared and 
furnished by Mrs. G. R. Irish, who has faithfully kept the 
record since the death of her pioneer husband, Gill R. 
Irish. As we read these reports from year to year it ap- 
pears that the Grim Reaper each year has been unusually 
active. It will be noted that many well known old settlers 
have passed away during the past year including several 
genuine pioneers. It will be noted that the following de- 
cedents of the past year had passed the age of 90 years: 
Erin Cannot, aged 91 years ; William Nelson, aged 91 years ; 
August Hasselhorst, aged 90 years; Mrs. C. C. Williams, 
aged 93 years ; Mrs. Caroline Boerner, aged 91 years ; Mrs. 
Elizabeth Bristow, aged 90 years ; Mrs. Mary Rohret, aged 
91 years ; Mrs. Lois Clark J ewett, aged 92 years ; Mrs. 
Mary Mendenhall, aged 93 years. This is truly a remark- 
able record. 

It will also be observed that the following decedent old 
settlers during the past year had passed the age of 80 
years : Mrs. Alexander Mahaffey, aged 84 years ; Mrs. Lu- 
cretia Carl, aged 84 years; Mrs. Katheryn Sullivan, aged 
88 years ; Mrs. Elizabeth McCollister Nelson, aged 84 years ; 
Wencel Hinek, aged 81 years ; Mrs. Robert L. Dunlap, aged 
82 years; Joseph Petra, aged 81 years; Mrs. Winifred 
Steward, aged 84 years; Solomon Coldren, aged 83 years; 
Miss Mary A. Albin, aged 85 years; Mark Strahle, aged 88 



Johnson County, Iowa 



27 



years ; Roland Burger, aged 84 years ; Louis Wagner, aged 
83 years; Mrs. Rosa Reha, aged 83 years; Andrew Beer- 
maker, aged 86 years; Michael Donahue, aged 83 years; 
Mrs. Catherine Nerad, aged 81 years; John Murray, aged 
87 years; Mrs. James Nerat, aged 81 years; William Em- 
mons, aged 80 years ; James Brennan, aged 84 years ; L. G-. 
Wilson, aged 83 years. This also is a list showing unusual 
longevity. The necrological list follows: 



AUGUST, 1917 



NAME AGE DATE 

Mrs. Alexander Mahaffey . . 84 13 

Mrs. Lueretia Carl 84 22 

Joseph Urban 77 20 



NAME AGE DATE 

Alfred H. Stimmel 77 4 

Aaron Cannott 91 19 



SEPTEMBER, 1917 



Mrs. Barbara Kyle 79 1 

Mrs. William Olney 58 5 

Al Meardon 51 6 

Theodore Faust .62 6 

T. B. Forestel 48 8 

Mrs. Kathryn Sullivan 88 10 

Mrs. Barbara Kenny 77 15 

Mrs. Mary B. Ferson 67 30 



Mrs. Elizabeth McCollister 

Nelson 84 2 

Wencel Hinek 81 2 

Mrs. Oliver F. Hill 41 7 

Mrs. Mary Loftus — 13 

Mrs. Frank Novak 56 14 

Frank Reilly 52 15 

Geo. Campbell 60 14 

Josiah Osburn 60 18 

Mrs. Eobert T. Dunlap 82 18 



Joseph Krofta 44 29 

Mrs. Frank Mezic 49 24 

Mrs. Clara Seymore Clapp . . 56 19 

Dr. August H. Aep — 12 

(Is an alumnus of the College of 

Medicine, Homeopathic, S. U. I., 

Class 1882.) 



Isaac Frizell 55 2 

Joseph Petra 81 21 

Jacob Cilek 72 19 

Mrs. John Wymer 60 21 

Mrs. P. C. Roberts .... .51 4 

(Nee Mattie Parrott) 

William Nelson 94 23 

Miss Hattie Pinney 66 30 

James Holloway 78 25 

Mrs. Chester Roberts — 4 



OCTOBER, 1917 



28 The Old Settlers' Association of 



NOVEMBER, 1917 



NAME 


AGE 


DATE 




64 


2 




24 


9 




38 


16 




84 


10 




.72 


17 


David Draper 


74 


17 


Mrs. James M. Maggard . . 


.62 


14 



NAME AGE DATE 

Mrs. Cornelius Rucker 71 19 

(Nee Sarah Hanby, daughter of 
James and Martha Hanby.) 

Dr. Malcom Stewart 59 14 

(A pioneer physician and sur- 
geon. Graduate of S. U. I. 
from the College of Medicine, in 
1884. Died in Tecumseh, Neb. 
A native of Glasgow, Scotland.) 



DECEMBER, 1917 



Charles Hutchinson 68 23 

(Son of Robert and Julia 
W. Hutchinson) 

Solomon Coldren 83 8 

Philip Greulich 67 24 

Edward Stinocher 26 25 



Mrs. C. P. Murray — 26 

(Nee Helen Schulze) 

John R. Roberts — 25 

(Deacon Emeritus in the Congre- 
gational Church at Oxford, 
Iowa.) 



JANUARY, 1918 



John Miller of Oxford, la.. .21 4 

William L. Figg 67 9 

Charles M. Reno 72 16 

August Hasselhorst 90 16 

Mrs. C. Antone Peckman...54 18 

Mrs. C. C. Williams 93 18 

Miss Mary A. Albin 85 24 



Mrs. Marcella Foster Hoops 78 19 

Mark Strahle 88 15 

Roland Burger 84 24 

Dr. Frank P. Chapman 65 31 

(Dentist) 

Louis Wagner . 83 22 

Evan Williams — — 



FEBRUARY, 1918 



Dr. A. J. Burge 52 2 

Christian Epenbach 62 10 

Mathias Stinner 77 19 

Mrs. J. M. Dicus 76 17 

Mrs. Rosa Roha 83 18 

Simon Fronholtz 70 9 



Mrs. John Painten 39 11 

(Nee Mae Windrem) 
John Lohberger 75 25 

(Was Civil War Veteran. Born 
in Alsace, France.) 



Johnson County, Iowa 29 

MARCH, 1918 



NAME 


AGE 


DATE 


NAME 


AGE 


DATE 




86 


3 




83 


18 


Dr. Elmer Doty 


68 


7 


Mrs. Lydia Ringland Thoel 








91 


4 


firtkft 


65 


10 




38 


10 


(Died at Pocatello, Idaho.) 




69 


12 


"Rnhorf "R Clark 


37 


10 




52 


13 


IVTra TTq Tl*l q^ti Ovt* 


26 


18 


Mrs. Elizabeth Turner . . . 


.79 


6 


IVTtq IVTq t*tt O 'TTptitippv 

JAJ.J.O. 1VJ.CII V \J -LXCIHICCJ' ... 


. 71 


25 


Mrs. Rnth Jnnps 


68 


14 


"fi^TArlvip TTinklpv 


50 


24 


(Widow of John J. Jones) 




58 




Miss Mary Jane Andrews. 


.74 


14 


IVTra "P^li 'zq'Ko'Hi "Rim Q'frvw 

i.VXI o. XLillZicl Ut?LII JJllOlUW . • • 


.90 


lb 


Frank Kindel 


.76 


7 




33 


OA 






A "PT?TT. 


1918 






57 


4 




81 


9 


Miss Emmer Wescott 


.79 


6 


Mrs. Geo. Wagner 


56 


20 


KIT TT • i i XT i j 1 

Mrs. Harriett Hostetler . . 


.72 


8 


(Nee Jennie Shaver) 






Mrs. Helen Murphy Hays. 


.65 


12 


John W. B. McGee 


39 


27 






5 


Mrs. S. M. Porch 


71 


28 




.68 


5 




74 


26 


Mrs. Catherine Nerad .... 


.81 


JLX 




55 


o\J 




.45 


16 




64 


21 


(Nee Emm Zara) 






(Widow of the late Joshua 






.25 


3 


Secrest) 








,87 


14 


Robert McConnell 


21 


11 






MAY, 


1918 




72 


6 


Mrs. Lois Clark Jewet .... 


92 


21 




.76 


7 


Mrs. Maria Barnett 






Mrs. John Summerhays . . . 


.74 


28 




76 


30 




.58 


8 


Wilham Emmons 


80 


30 




68 


16 


Mrs. Joseph H. Tomash. . . 


.60 


21 


Bruce Clark 


74 


26 


James Brennan 


37 


16 


Mrs. Mary Eohret 


91 


26 


(Son of Thos. Brennan) 




81 


23 




78 


15 



30 



The Old Settlers' Association of 



JUNE, 1918 



NAME 


AGE 


DATE 




41 


5 




77 


6 




60 


7 




. .35 


10 




73 


28 




. . ,69 


4 




. . .53 


29 



NAME AGE DATE 

James Brennan 84 17 

Mrs. Thomas Bauer 45 13 

Mrs. O. C. Isabell 76 27 

(Widow of Prof. Isabell of S. 
IT. I. early day musical fac- 
ulty.) 



JULY, 1918 



L. G. Wilson 83 3 

Michael Pribyl 67 12 

Clarence A. Starr 62 12 

(Son of Dr. Calvin Starr, 
pioneer physician.) 
Mrs. Bertha Leinder 

Pumphrey 59 15 

John Hervert 28 19 



Mrs. John Eden 60 24 

Mrs. Margaret Mendenhall 93 24 

Mildred Krofta 16 21 

Mrs. S. J. Smith 56 28 

(Wife of Dr. S. J. Smith) 

Miss Susan Williams 70 22 

Frank Novak 50 22 



AUGUST, 1918 



Frank M. McKeynoldi 



78 2 



r